Zimbabwe's power-sharing government marked its second anniversary on Friday with President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party renewing calls for fresh elections saying the arrangement was not working properly.
Formed on February 11 2009 between the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change and ZANU-PF after several months of intense negotiations, the inclusive government has barely functioned well. All parties have expressed their frustrations.
It came to a near-collapse in October 2009 when the MDC formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced a “partial pullout” protesting the jailing of its treasurer-general Roy Bennet on terrorism charges and several other grievances.
Though credited with stabilizing the country's economy once afflicted by hyperinflation, the unity government has been criticized for failing to embrace fundamental reforms that promote human rights.
The latest indictment came from the human rights watchdog Amnesty International this week which urged Harare to "act on ongoing human rights abuses and institute reforms of the security sector and the media."
Offering his assessment, ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the arrangement had to a larger extent failed because of the MDC’s refusal to call for the lifting of sanctions.
"When we signed to this unity government we thought we would achieve a lot but this has not happened, thanks to the MDC," Gumbo said. "This is why we are calling for new elections."
But spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC charged that ZANU-PF was to blame for the unity woes. "It's all because of ZANU-PF's shenanigans. We've played our part."
Leader of the rival MDC wing, Welshman Ncube concured with Chamisa, adding that an inter-party committee to review the inclusive government had been formed and will be meeting next week.
Ncube said the recent outbreak of violence in Harare was a worrying development. "We have managed to stabilize the economy but on the political front, we still have a long way to go."
Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma vowed he will ramp-up his Harare mediation and press the ruling partners to implement the unity accord underpinning power-sharing and forge a clear roadmap ahead of elections envisaged this year.
In a televised State of the Nation Address Thursday, Mr. Zuma said his mediation efforts will get a boost in August when Pretoria assumes the rotational chairmanship of the SADC Organ on Defence and Politics.
Johannesburg-based political analyst Walter Nsununguli Mbongolwane told VOA Studio 7 reporter Brenda Moyo that the latest leadership despute in the Ncube-led MDC has become yet another problem that Mr. Zuma may be forced to tackle.